Trump-Putin Helsinki Summit: Exceeding Low Expectations

Written by | Monday, July 16th, 2018

US President Donald Trump said that his expectations for today’s (16 July) summit with Vladimir Putin were low. “I go in with low expectations,” Mr. Trump told media in Scotland where he is spending his time before the summit playing golf at his Trump Turnberry course. Donald Trump, however, assured that “nothing bad” would come out of the summit with Putin. “I think it’s a good thing to meet,” Trump said and added that “nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out.”

The high-level meeting comes only a few days after 12 Russian intelligence officers were charged by a federal grand jury for hacking the Democrats in the 2016 elections. As such, the summit comes at one of the most crucial crossroads for the West since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union. Europeans are concerned about the summit, fearing that the Russian leader might seek to reach a grand deal with his American counterpart and thus undermine the US-led transatlantic alliance. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned Donald Trump not to make any unilateral deals with Vladimir Putin that come with a cost for the United States’ Western allies.

Donald Trump said that the investigation into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election – which he described as a “rigged witch hunt” – makes it difficult for him to make substantive deals with the Kremlin. However, the reality is that the accusations shine even more spotlight on the dynamic between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. One of the topics that might be discussed during the summit is the extradition of the Russians to the United States. When asked by journalists whether he would ask for the extradition, he said he had not thought about it but that he may. The Russian constitution does not allow the extradition of its own citizens.

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